Our caring aims are all very much the same

Barbara from Creative Community reports from the second Big Meet on Monday, 10th April.

After last month’s success at the Factory Youth Zone local community groups have again been invited for a get-to-know-you session. It’s Big Meet 2 and tonight we’re at The Miners Community Arts and Music Centre in Moston.

We’re hoping this early evening session will attract people who can’t make a daytime event.

Members of the LRG (Local Reference Group) are here to meet and greet. Anthony from Everyday People, Stephen from Moston Lane Traders, Pamela from the Factory Youth Zone, Jane from Manchester Communication Academy, Lou from The Miners and Kath and I from Creative Community. Graeme and Helen from Forever Manchester are here too.

First through the doors are ladies representing Sidney Jones Court, a local sheltered housing scheme. “We call ourselves The Inbetweeners,” Sandy explains, “because we do a bit of everything!”

Refreshments are offered as more people arrive. “I’m off cake for Lent” says Bernie. “Nothing for me ’til the weekend.” The rest of us look on sympathetically as we tuck into our chocolate Swiss roll.

The evening starts with a warm welcome from Anthony (from Everyday People) and we’re put into three groups for a warm-up quiz. On the screen we see a picture of a male singer from the 50’s, we just have to write down who it is.

“Is that a man?” someone shouts as another picture comes up. There’s lots of laughter from those of  us who know it’s a photo of a young Elvis.

At the end of the quiz – and after helpful clues from Anthony – each team has 18 points and we go to a tie break. Gary from the Frank Cohen Drop-in Centre comes up with the winning answer. The prize is a gallon of tea!!!!

Next is an introduction from Helen and Graeme. As with the last ‘meet’, Graeme has put down a map of the area in masking tape. He says it’s an improvement on the last one. With a little prompting we all stand on the map where our groups meet.

As it turns out, it’s very nearly a circle so we grab a chair and begin to introduce ourselves.

The groups are diverse, we have a lot on offer in Moston and Harpurhey. There’s a radio station, a diabetes support group, a community food bank, craft groups, a drop-in for recovering alcoholics and drug users, and music and arts.

We’re invited to link up with a group we know little about to find out more. This turns out to be very positive and good links are forged and invitations made.

Helen discusses training and we all have a think about what support our particular group needs.

Everyone is then invited to take part in ‘Heads, Hearts and Hands’. Around the room are three big sheets of paper and we write down what our groups know about, what we are good at and what we feel passionate about.

When we’re all done it’s interesting to see that – despite our diversity – our caring aims for our community are very much the same.

We end up with an informal chat, new friendships and links are made and we look forward to the next Big Meet.

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